According to chef Dan Ross-Leutwyler, carbonara is kind of the perfect brunch dish—especially if you're a little hungover. "It's really rich. It's got bacon or pancetta in it, black pepper to sort of wake you up, and it's just really filling." But at Amali, a Mediterranean restaurant on Manhattan's Upper East Side, chef Ross-Leutwyler serves a carbonara risotto for brunch, rather than spaghetti. There were a couple reasons that he switched up the traditional pasta recipe in favor of rice. "As a chef, you're always looking for new or interesting ways to do things, to sort of get the customer excited, and keep your cooks excited at the same time," he explained. And making a rich risotto rather than a pasta dish was an easy way to switch up a classic.
There were more practical considerations, too. “We also actually have a number of gluten-free employees,” Ross-Leutwyler added, “so this was sort of a way to test out new recipes for them without forcing them to eat pasta.”
This risotto carbonara, though potentially more impressive than the original, is actually just as simple to make. "The most important thing is that you want to keep stirring and stirring and stirring," he explained. "You want to cook risotto pretty quickly, start to finish. There's no reason to make it take any longer than it needs to." Especially since you won’t be able to wait to polish it off.